If Up Two Us #3 (Tesco)

In this week’s #IfUpTwoUs review of how we would direct a brand, we take a look at Tesco.

  1. Create new values
  2. Rethink advertising strategies

Tesco feature high on the list of companies with poor sentiment.  This is the result of an accounting scandal in 2014.

If you were to look at a list of unpopular brands you would find companies people distrust, or don’t align with.  For the most part it’s oil companies, banks, and anyone that’s been the subject of a particularly damaging scandal.

Tesco needs to change perception of it, and it also needs to reflect upon changes in the grocery industry.

At the start of the decade Tesco had a greater than 30% share of the grocery market.  According to Kantar WorldPanel, it’s now around 28%, and falling (see below).


These supermarkets have clear identities.  Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and M&S (not listed) are the quality end of the scale.  The likes of ASDA, Aldi, and Lidl are more centred on affordability.

But what about Tesco?  The tagline of “Every Little Helps”, a Brand Price Gaurantee, and the Value range suggest price is priority.  But it’s unlikely they would rival to Aldi and Lidl on price.

Nor will Tesco challenge the other supermarkets known for their own high-quality produce.

So what’s the answer?

We believe positioning the business as the fore-runner for another customer priority.  Social.

Last year Tesco agreed to give all unsold food to charity, helping groups such as the homeless, children’s clubs, and refuges.  Initiatives such as this set Tesco ahead of its rivals.


We say, use a new tagline – The Social Supermarket.

And this ties in with our other suggestion… Ditch the faux family ads.

Ruth Jones and Ben Miller have proven themselves to be funny over the years.  But who has a funny grocery provider as a priority?  And we’re acutely aware they’re not a real family.  The adverts don’t hit the target and it would be better to spend celebrity appearance fees on furthering reputation.

For example,

Partner with renowned chefs to promote Tesco brand food, recipes and new lines.

Launch initiatives to boost social integration, such as:
Ad campaigns highlighting local organic produce;
Low supply-chain carbon footprint;
Priority night staff recruitment drives for the homeless.

And there we have it.  Pair these changes to a high level of social media engagement and await improvements in brand perception.


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